chapter  9
19 Pages

Bones as a Bridge between Worlds

Responding with Ceremony to the Repatriation of Aboriginal Human Remains from the United States to Australia
WithMartin Thomas

This chapter provides the 2011 burial of the bones, and the discussions between the author and Wamud, a personal descriptor, in the years preceding his death. This personalized focus can only acknowledge the already extensive literature on the retention of human remains in museums and other institutions and the effects of repatriation. It also focuses on Wamud's actions and experiences than the circumstances of the collection of bones in 1948. For the recently deceased Bininj, it is not unusual to spend months in a mortuary freezer while others further up the queue wait for attention. The elders die too young, and the young die too often. This terrible reality is a unifying thread in Aboriginal Australia. When the author first mooted the idea of making a film about the repatriation he had imagined that it would be a straightforward project involving observing and documenting the homeward journey of the human remains.